Award winners 1998

Vaclav Havel

The Czech President Vaclav Havel was the first recipient of the Peace of Westphalia Prize in 1998 because he distinguished himself beyond the borders of his own country as a leading figure for understanding between peoples and their citizens in Europe. With this commitment, he overcame historical and understandable resistance in his own country and achieved encouraging approaches in the German-Czech border regions.

Gesto por la Paz

In awarding the Youth Prize, the jury chose "Gesto por la Paz" (Gesture for Peace), an association of various peace organizations in the Basque Country. "Gesto por la Paz" has gained notoriety through silent marches and large demonstrations against the violence in the Basque Country, particularly by ETA. One form of expression of the protest is an openly worn blue ribbon, which symbolizes solidarity with the kidnapped and their relatives. Both taking part in the demonstrations and wearing the blue ribbon require a considerable amount of civil courage.

Although the work of "Gesto por la Paz" has not yet been able to prevent acts of violence by Basque extremists, it has succeeded in significantly increasing protest among the Basque population against the acts of violence in recent years. The organization is strongly influenced by young people. In 1998, the average age of active members was 26, and almost half of the twelve board members were younger than 25 at the time.